Big Z turned 10 years today. Sounds clichéd – yes, time absolutely flies and I don’t know where it flew. My 16 weeks ultras0no report had pronounced that we were having a boy. S however was very sure that it was a girl and had already fixed upon the name Shrishti, meaning Creation. She is also called Big Z because her pet name is Zita. We Bengalis, must necessarily have a pet name or a daaknaam. Remember Jhumpa Lahiri’s ‘Namesake’? During the 8 months scan, the doctor declared that it would be a girl. I burst out crying and I couldn’t wait to see the happiness in S’s eyes. I had been toying out some boys name all throughout my pregnancy – Adi, Karan, Krish etc!
In my early years of mommyhood, I used to keep all my memories documented in different albums – categorised, labelled and captioned. I had a separate baby book, an album exclusively for birthdays, an early year school album (above left) etc etc etc. Those were the pre-digital days. I was a happy mom. I would click pictures, print them and put them neatly in albums. The last few years however, my life had changed. I had become a geek. I would document every moment and every minute of my life through my Nikon SLR and more recently, my Samsung smartphone. There were no more albums that could sit on my bookshelves. They would sit in different folders on my hard disc. I believe, in life everything is destined for a reason. Most of the times for a good reason. Recently, my laptop as well as my iMac crashed – wiping away a whole lot of photographs. I had a back up of some, but I realised that I had lost a majority of the photographs, including many special moments from the Z-Sisters’ lives. Today, I am thankful for the few albums that I had so diligently created – they seem to be like some priceless inheritance. Here’s Big Z’s timeline from the pages of those albums, and I realised that she wasn’t very big even a few days back… Big Z was born in Dubai but soon after we moved to Frankfurt. After living in Dubai, Frankfurt seemed like a totally different world. I used to miss my friends in Dubai and would email regularly about how Big Z was doing. When Big Z turned one, we had only a handful of friends in Frankfurt – Claudia being one of them (left page in the picture above). We cut Big Z’s first birthday cake in a small Pizzeria. And I wrote a huge email to all my friends and family (below), on behalf of Big Z, describing the Big Day. It is strange that even then I was such a lousy baker – I couldn’t even straighten a ready-made frozen cake! The 2nd birthday was better – we had made very good friends in Debu (right page in the above picture), who shared his birthday with Big Z.
I was a terrible photographer in those days. And I didn’t focus on anything – neither the people nor on food. While the first birthday picture of Big Z was very blurry (first picture above), at least the cake was there in the picture. But in the 2nd Birthday picture, there are no photographs of the birthday cake. Thankfully, there is Big Z. During those days, she was cutely squinted, wearing specs like the nerdy kid from the Tom Cruise film, Jerry McGuire. Soon she would require no specs after a lot of eye exercise and roaming around like a pirate, with one bandaged eye. Every birthday is marked by cards sent by both set of grandparents. If not from my mother, then definitely from my mother-in-law. She still makes it a point to go from one card shop to another, searching for the right words. Then she would actually post them by hand – a rarity in today’s world of emails and e-greetings. By the time Big Z turned 3, we were back to Dubai, although we didn’t know at that time how long our Dubai stint would be.
There’s a new entrant in our family by the time Big Z turned 5… that’s our Li’l Z.
Big Z turns 6! By this time Big Z had started writing her own invites (above). Out of the blue, we had also built up a tradition of celebrating each of her birthdays with two birthday parties – one at home, for Mummy and Daddy’s friends and another one for school friends. And that brought in another new task in the horizon – choosing different venues for each birthday.
My birthday album project got halted at Big Z’s 6th birthday – sigh! Gone were the stories and the captions. Plus those glued up special greeting cards from both the grandmas. And with my recent hard disc crashes, there were no more *potential* story telling too that I could hand over. It was time for me to resort to Facebook uploads – both mine and others.
By the time Big Z turned 8, she had started to show interest in cooking. We celebrated her birthday by making Pizza at Pizza Express. She would soon start helping me setting up tables for parties and making the salads, sometimes preparing a dish or two.
Today, we celebrated Big Z’s 10th birthday by watching Maleficent at the Vox Cinemas in the morning. It felt strange to see her holding her first flowers – a gift from a boy friend (as she emphasised – not boyfriend but a friend who was a boy) in class who didn’t know what else to buy for a girl. And I felt – oh, that was my baby even a few days back, just 3 days old (above right) – still lying in the hospital crib. Today, she talks about what she wants to be. One day she wants to be a baker, another day, she wants to be a teacher. The third day she would come back saying she wants to be an actress. All I pray is that she will be happy and safe, specially in the world she’s growing up in. I admire S, who seems to be absolutely okay in letting her be on her own. As he says, sooner than later, she will anyway be on her own. I am slightly jittery. But for the time being I try to sing along with Doris Day and say Que Sera, Sera… whatever will be, will be… the future’s not ours to see… Que Sera, Sera… whatever will be, will be!
Unblogging it all… Ishita
The School Album Project starts off with Big Z joining the Kindergarten. That’s Big Z in her first year of school. I don’t want to remember her first day of school – she didn’t even look back at Mummy as she entered the classroom.
The school bear Barnaby comes home, and the School Album Project starts becoming heavier by the day. And suddenly stops there. Today, every Friday (#FridayBaking) I wake up to Big Z trying out her baking skill. Mummy is very lousy at baking so she learns hands on. For her 10th birthday, she actually bought herself a lot of baking utensils (much below). Disclaimer: While you enjoy reading the posts with lot of visuals, please do not use any material from this post. Please note that this blog is not a sponsored blog and the subject, story, opinions and views stated here are my own and are independent. You can catch my daily travel and food journey on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.